Join House Tours Extra this month as Robbie and Gemma visit Kim at her beautifully renovated Seaside Oak Frame Cottage on the Essex coast.
Surprise Additional Property
Kim and her family originally bought the neighbouring eight bedroom manor house as a big renovation project. The condition of the sale included an outbuilding that had previously been used as a dwelling and a small attached barn. Locals told Kim stories about the history, and how horses used to graze in the garden.
Without any clear plans of what they were going to do with this additional property, Kim initially thought they could give it a quick refurbish and rent it out as a holiday let. On closer inspection however, it was discovered that the whole building was rotten and would need to be completely rebuilt.
The beach is not far from the house and the original timber of the cottage would have been made from old boats. There were two main beams holding up the back of the house, and Kim initially thought these were the only parts needing replacing. There was ivy growing into the house. When the joiner came to take a look and took off the weatherboard, he saw the entire structure of the house was crumbling.
"It was like a crunchie bar held together with paint! The house could have collapsed at any point and was really dangerous. We had to have it sorted out immediately. The back wall beams were replaced first and then the joiner went around the house, replacing one wall at a time."
New Oak Frame With Timber Pegs
The house is made entirely from wood and pegs and has a wonderful homely atmosphere. The open beam stud work and panelled walls have quintessential cottage style. The bedrooms in particular are a great example of how to create a visual impact through structural design. The oak ceiling beams in the master bedroom are a necessity, but also make a real feature, accentuated by the light streaming in from the folding double glazed doors. The room has been created from the adjoining barn section, not originally considered as part of the renovation work. "It was an afterthought, really," Kim explained. The barn was converted into an additional bedroom and is used by Kim and her husband. The family currently live in the renovated cottage while the major renovations on the manor house are being completed.
Kim has chosen a classic style of interior design. Upmarket cottage decor with soft colours to complement the beams and exposed oak woodwork. Beautiful hand made ledge and brace doors. What was a decaying house on the brink of collapse is now a stunning cottage home.
Adjoining barn bedroom
Stunning beams inside bedroom
Exposed oak beam in kitchen
Traditional Ironmongery & Cabinet Furniture
Choosing the right door, window and cabinet furniture adds authentic detail and can really make a difference to the overall finished look. Traditional ironmongery is the ideal choice for an oak frame property.
Kim picked Suffolk Latch Company's hand forged latches and hinges in a black beeswax finish - the perfect complement to the hand made oak ledge and brace doors. The windows and external door have been fitted with traditional black hardware. In the kitchen there are cast iron cup pulls and cabinet knobs. All great choices for creating elegant cottage style.
Gothic Latch Black - £18.00
Shepherds Crook Bolts Black 4" Straight - £13.00
Black Monkey Tail Window Fastener Default Title - £13.00
The renovation of the cottage came as a complete surprise and Kim explained that she didn't have a vision for the house at all. No plans were drawn up and the work more or less evolved as it went along.
"It wasn't the best financial decision not to have a plan, but it has given us a really quirky house, full of character."
The work was dictated in part by the original position of the walls, and certain features such as the chimney breast had to remain. Kim is happy with the results though, and loves how the house was devoped bit by bit. Her favourite part of the cottage, apart from the stunning oak woodwork, is the exposed wall they decided not to fill in.
The most worrying part of the renovation was when the surveyor discovered that the foundations were non-existent. The house had originally been resting on an old pond, which would certainly have been the main reason why the wood had rotted in the way that it had. Now, the house is securely placed over a huge underground concrete bridge and is completely safe.
One nice find during the project was a large conch shell, still intact, in the garden. Kim cleaned it up and turned it into a stunning one-of-a-kind lamp.
Kim shares her renovation tips and advice for anyone thinking about taking on a similar renovation project:
Make sure you have a proper survey done on the property.
Understand what it is you are taking on and seek professional advice - the oak frame cottage renovations evolved as things were uncovered, but this isn't the cheapest way to do it.
Be flexible - sometimes what you want to do can't be done or will cost too much.
Gothic Latch Black - £18.00
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We hope you enjoyed our tour of this unique oak framed cottage. A big thanks to Kim for sharing her gorgoeous home and telling us all about the renovations. We can't wait to see how the building work in the main manor house unfolds - watch this space for more updates...